What can the Liver bird see?

Explore Ben Johnson's painting The Liverpool Cityscape by animating a giant cityscape playmat. Create noises and actions that the Liver Bird will see and hear before exploring a gallery.

This session can be booked Monday to Friday at 10.15am, 11.30am and 1.15pm.

Workshop details

Ben Johnson's 'The Liverpool Cityscape' painting provides inspiration in this creative session.

From their place on top of the adjacent Liver Building, the Liver Birds can see an awful lot. This session is about encouraging our youngest visitors to imagine what those things might be. Using a giant play mat of Liverpool, which is populated with trees, transport and children’s ideas, and the help of a Liver Bird puppet we explore the city to illustrate what the bird might see including transport, animals, people and jobs. Musical instruments are used to make noises and actions that the Liver Bird might see and hear.

Then it’s off around the Museum with the help of costume, torches and magnifying glasses to find examples of transport that characters who don’t have wings might use as well as people and other animals.

Groups may like to combine this session with a visit to Little Liverpool or a self led storytelling session. The Little Liverpool gallery is a hands-on world especially for children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 to play and learn. Inside the gallery our youngest visitors can create their own Liverpool - a city where they are in charge.

Curriculum links

Early Years Foundation Stage  

Communication and language development

  • Listening and attention: Children listen attentively in a range of situations.  They respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions.  They give their attention to what others say and respond appropriately.
  • Understanding: Children follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.
  • Speaking: Children express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs.

Personal, social and emotional development

  • Self confidence and awareness: Children are confident to try new activities.
  • Managing feelings and behaviour: Children work as part of a group or class and understand and follow rules.

Understanding of the world

  • The world: Children talk about the features of their own immediate environment. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.

Expressive arts and design

  • Exploring and using media and materials: Children make music.

Learning outcomes 

Knowledge and understanding

  • understand that the Museum of Liverpool contains special objects.
  • understand that 'The Liverpool Cityscape' is a painting of Liverpool and the River Mersey.
  • learn that 'The Liverpool Cityscape' was painted by artist Ben Johnson.
  • use 'The Liverpool Cityscape' painting to give them a sense of the size of the city.


  • begin to describe colours, old and new buildings/shapes/patterns/sounds that might be heard in the painting.
  • identify things that are missing from the painting including people, animals and vehicles.


  • appreciate that places can be represented artistically.
  • grasp that a piece of art can take years to complete and may involve more than one artist.


  • appreciate the Museum of Liverpool is an enjoyable and inspiring place to visit.
  • be inspired by 'The Liverpool Cityscape' painting, views from our windows and the objects in the Museum of Liverpool's galleries.